Shifting Sands (Unexpected Occurrences 2/12)
Charles had made an effort to sound reassuring in the
meeting with the students, but in truth he was very
worried. More worried than he had been in many
years. The secrecy of the outpost, which they all
agreed was paramount, was feeling rather precarious
right now. He wished, not for the first time, that
they had all been more careful about who knew of the
Outpost's existence and - even more importantly - its
location. The most worrisome part was that he didn't
even know who knew what. Although the X-Men and Alpha
Flight had been scrupulously careful not to talk about
the Outpost outside of their respective headquarters,
visits back and forth between Saskatchewan and
Westchester meant that most of the students at
Xavier's Academy were aware of the existence of a
secret mutant community in rural Saskatchewan,
although few knew more about its location than that.
Professor Xavier was concerned about all the
detainees, and particularly worried about the two he
knew best, his former students. Tabitha had had the
presence of mind to call her former headmaster as soon
as she realized they were being arrested. She had
managed only three words � �Talk to me!� � before the
phone was taken from her and the call ended. He�d
immediately made telepathic contact by focusing his
mind on Tabitha while her voice was still loud in his
brain. His brain had continued to speak to hers long
enough to find out that she and Rogue were being
arrested at the Mutant Rights League office. The
arrest coming under the Mutant Detection Act, neither
of his former students was given a chance to call
anyone or to be represented by an attorney. Plain
clothes policemen had shown up, handcuffed them, and
taken them away. There was no pause to read them
their rights, since they didn�t have any. No mutant
Xavier had tried to maintain the telepathic connection
longer, to find out where they were taken, but he�d
lost Tabitha on the way. Telepathy at a distance was
difficult at the best of times. It was harder when
only one of the people communicating had the
telepathic gift and harder still when strong emotions
were interfering with the concentration he needed from
her to keep their connection going. He could feel
Tabitha�s fear a few minutes longer than he could hear
her thoughts, her rapid breathing loud in his ears,
his own pulse racing with hers. And then there was no
connection at all.
Charles was worried about Tabitha, her fear bordering
on panic the last mental impression he�d had of her.
He was even more concerned about Rogue. Concerned
about her personally, worried about mistreatment of
�enemy� detainees by a perhaps unrestrained military.
The secrecy associated with the detention of mutants
meant there was no independent oversight � either by
the press or by humanitarian and human rights groups -
to prevent abuse. Military of all countries were at
risk for engaging in abuses, even torture, under
conditions such as obtained in the U.S. now. The
United States Army had shown previously it was not
immune to a tendency to abuse. Rogue was young and
vulnerable, and more than a little rebellious. She
didn�t have the self-possession or self-restraint that
the situation called for, he feared. Xavier worried
that she was the type of prisoner guards would gladly
Beyond the personal worries for Tabitha�s and Rogue�s
safety, Charles was very concerned about the
possibility that his two former students could provide
information to their captors that would endanger them
all. Their high profile in the Mutant Rights League
made them likely candidates for interrogation. Both
Rogue and Tabitha knew all about the Saskatchewan
Outpost. Rogue had even spent a summer there, while
Logan was still running the Outpost. Charles knew
that she was well acquainted with the location and the
surrounding area. He was certain neither Tabitha nor
Rogue would voluntarily provide information that would
compromise the Outpost�s secrecy, but who knew what
tactics the interrogators would use? With torture,
with drugs, it was more than possible that they could
both be broken. He knew that it was essential that
Tabitha and Rogue be found and freed quickly, before
their captors had a chance to find out what they knew.
To free them, though, they�d first have to be located,
and this was not a trivial task. A joint Alpha
Flight/X-Men mission currently under way was the first
step in doing so, he hoped. Jean-Paul �Northstar�
Beaubier had been brought out of his brief retirement
and together with Jean Grey was even now in
Washington, DC, trying to find out where enemy
combatant mutants were being held. The news reports
were full of the government�s statements about a new
mutant prison, designed to be escape-proof even when
holding mutants with varied and powerful gifts. Its
exact location, though, was a closely held secret.
Mac Hudson had attempted to find it out through
intergovernmental contacts, but the U.S. was not
sharing such information with Canada, not as long as
the latter country was still reluctant to join the War
Jean, however, had found out � through telepathic
means � that two mutants had been badly injured in an
escape attempt at the secret prison and had been
transported to Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital for
treatment. She and Jean-Paul were attempting to
infiltrate the hospital and speak to the mutants held
there, even to remove them if they could.
Scott didn�t speak to Logan again until later in the
evening. They had both been at the cabinet meeting,
but it wasn�t a forum for private discussion. Before
and after the meeting, their individual assignments
had kept them busy and separate. Still, Scott was
glad they�d had a brief chance to speak, and gladder
still that Logan had confronted him about what was
bothering him. Scott�s own impulse had been to say
nothing about his reluctance to talk to Logan about
the war while they�d been out in the wilderness. He
realized now that that was a course of action that
would have only fueled Logan�s resentment. Scott
reflected that Logan was sometimes the one of the two
of them with better instincts about what he insisted
on calling �interpersonal shit.�
The cabinet meeting had been informative, particularly
so for Scott, who had been away for a couple of days,
and Logan, who knew little of recent events. Charles
had updated them on the latest, rather grim
developments in the War on Mutants. Several of the
cabinet members had begun to speculate on the origins
of the mysterious illness that had been the
precipitating factor of the war, but Charles had cut
them short. �There�s no point in guessing with the
little information we have now,� he�d said. �The most
important thing we can do to find out what really
happened is to get Tabitha and Rogue out of there.
They were on site at the initial meeting and they were
observers of the first outbreak in Washington, right
up until their arrests. I�m sure they know more than
we can glean from afar.�
�Is it possible to get them out? Do we even know
where they�re being held?� Wendy asked.
�No, we don�t, yet. We�re working on finding out,
through a few methods, including judicious and careful
use of telepathy. Jean is in Washington right now,
under an assumed name. Guardian has sent Northstar to
join her. The first stage of this mission will be to
try to find out where Tabitha and Rogue are being
held.� He explained the opportunity presented by the
detainees being treated at Walter Reed. �We don�t
know how badly hurt the mutants in hospital are, which
is one of the reasons we sent Jean as our
representative. As a telepath and a doctor, she is
uniquely qualified for this mission. She and
Jean-Paul will attempt to remove the injured mutants
if their health permits doing so. Alpha Flight and I
are preparing for a follow-up joint mission to rescue
Tabitha and Rogue as soon as we can.�
�That sounds promising,� Scott weighed in, �but I
don�t think we can count on getting info about their
whereabouts this way. We�re going to need to locate
mutants � now and throughout this war. We need
�There is no Cerebro,� Professor Xavier responded, in
a tone of finality.
Arthur gave the personnel and housing report. �We�re
up to 112 now, including the Wilderness Survival
Class. We�ve planned for 150, but I think we�ll have
to be ready to go higher. We still haven�t heard from
everyone who was at Xavier�s and we�re getting a
steady stream of mutant refugees who�ve been referred
here from other routes � Alpha Flight, Wendy�s Mawrter
connections, some of the MRL people who got away. I
can see housing close to 180, if it comes to that.
The dorm rooms that have four in them now can go to
six, if need be. We�ll put in another set of bunks.
It will be tight, but manageable. And starting now,
no private rooms at all.� Charles cleared his throat.
�Excuse me, one private room. Everyone else shares.
If anyone complains about that, refer them to me.�
�Can we keep that many secret?� Scott asked.
�Feeding, clothing that many people. Won�t word get
�We�re getting food supplies from a few places,� Wendy
answered. �And we�ve been growing much of our own for
some time now. We have a lot of food in store as well
as lots of clothing appropriate for the weather here,
in many sizes. You�re right, Scott, that it�s a risk.
The more people there are here and the longer it goes
on, the more the risk. But I think we�re okay for
Assignments were given out to the cabinet members at
the end of the meeting, and they dispersed. It was a
long evening for Scott. He and Adam spent most of it
reviewing the day�s news reports both from inside the
U.S. and foreign sources, trying to separate fact from
government propaganda. They worked together well.
Adam�s years of journalistic work and Scott�s
first-hand knowledge from recent field experience made
them a good team for decoding the press releases and
figuring out a best guess of what was really going on.
Space being at a premium, they worked in Adam�s
�Does he sleep through everything?� Scott asked with a
glance towards Ezra�s crib next to the bed, as they
replayed one particularly loud sequence of news
footage for the third time.
�Pretty much. When he�s asleep, he�s asleep.� Adam
shook his head and smiled wearily. �But he�ll be up
later tonight, believe me. He never sleeps through.
And with Jean-Paul gone,� he added with a yawn, �I�ve
got no one to take turns with, getting up.�
�Sorry I�m keeping you up now, then.�
�Oh, it�s not you,� Adam said with a smile. �It�s
Simon Legree Xavier. Is he always like that?�
�Well, it is an emergency situation. There�s a lot to
do.� Scott paused, and added, �But yes, now that you
mention it, he is always like that,� eliciting a laugh
from Adam. �I�ve worked for Charles in one capacity
or another � usually more than one � since I was
sixteen. It�s usually interesting, often dangerous,
almost always exciting. But it�s always a lot of
work.� He smiled. �Working for Charles suits me. I
�Me, too,� Adam replied, returning Scott�s smile.
Then his smile faded and he added, �Particularly when
Jean-Paul is off on a dangerous mission. It distracts
me from worrying about him.�
�It�s hard, isn�t it?�
�Yeah. I don�t know if I�ll ever get used to it. I
felt really relieved when it looked like Jean-Paul was
�I bet you did.�
�I felt guilty for that, though. Jean-Paul�s so much
a part of Alpha Flight and it�s such important work.
I didn�t really want him to give it up. Still, it was
so nice not to worry about him off on a mission, and
I�m missing that worry-free time now. It�s been
almost three years we�ve been together, and I�m still
not really comfortable with the whole mutant superhero
thing. I�m scared all the time for him.�
�I�ve been doing the �mutant superhero thing� for
getting close to 20 years, Adam, and I�ll tell you �
you never get totally comfortable. You just learn to
live with fear.� He added, in a more reassuring tone,
�He�ll be okay. They know how to take care of
themselves, Jean and Jean-Paul. And how to watch out
for each other. I�d trust either of them with my
life. I have, both of them, on numerous occasions.
He�ll be home in a few days,� Scott predicted. �And
complaining when you tell him it�s his turn to get up
with the baby,� he added, garnering a smile from Adam.
After they�d made their report to Charles, Scott
checked with Wendy that the new residents had settled
in. He looked over the list of relatives and friends
the Wilderness Survival class had asked to contact.
He noticed with dismay that Oliver had not submitted
any names. Scott had hoped that Oliver would ask to
notify his mother that he had found a safe harbor.
Oliver�s father�s death and his mother�s attempts to
reach him had only happened a couple of weeks ago and
Scott knew Oliver hadn�t had the time he�d need to
figure out how he felt about responding to her.
Still, with the war starting in that time, so much had
occurred that everything felt changed. Scott had
hoped Oliver�s instincts would lead him to reach out
to his family of origin in this difficult time. He
wondered whether to say anything to Oliver about that.
Scott�s usual bedroom at the Outpost was the one he
still thought of as �Oliver�s Room� since Oliver had
stayed there the first time they�d both come to
Saskatchewan. It was a large room on the third floor,
one wall a built-in bookcase overflowing with books of
all kinds, making it Scott�s favorite room in the
house. By the time Scott managed to get back there it
was well past midnight and he was too tired to think
about reading. He turned on the desk lamp, glancing
to see that Logan was sprawled across the bed, fully
dressed. Logan sat up, yawning.
�Did I wake you? Sorry.�
�No problem. I learned a long time ago to sleep when
there�s nothing else I need to do � you never know
when you�ll have to do without. I finished my
assignment a couple of hours ago. Had a nap.� He
patted the bed and Scott sat down next to him. �So
we�re sharing a room?� Logan asked.
�You heard Arthur. Nobody but Charles gets his own
�And nobody but you is willing to chance sharing with
me?� Logan grinned.
�Probably not. Sometimes I like to live dangerously.�
Scott paused. �You okay with being roommates for a
�Sure. I�ll flip you for the bed.�
�Or flip me on the bed or something.� Logan laughed.
Scott continued, �Hey, we can sleep together, can�t
we? I�ll wake up if you�re having a nightmare. You
thrash around enough.�
�You�ll wake up dead if I thrash around with my claws
�I really don�t think that would happen. They don�t
extend until you�re well into the dream. I�ll wake up
before that point, and then I�ll wake you up. I�m
willing to risk it.�
�Yeah, well I�m not. Killing a lover is something I�d
rather leave as a once-in-a-lifetime thing, eh? Even
with a life as long as mine.� He looked carefully at
Scott, reaching out and holding him by the chin.
�Hey, take off your glasses.�
Scott closed his eyes and pulled them off. �Why?� he
�What�s that from?� Logan asked, gently touching the
purple and green raised area over Scott�s right eye.
Scott shrugged. �I�m not sure. Something during that
fight by the lake. I don�t have your powers � it
takes me time to heal... It�s just a bruise. Don�t
worry - it won�t leave a scar,� he said. �I don�t
need another one,� he added with an ironic smile.
�I like your scars,� Logan said, fingering an old one
on Scott�s bicep. �Reminds me you�re a fighter.� He
bent over and kissed Scott on the side of the neck,
stroking another scar with his tongue. �I like
fucking a fighter,� he added, right in Scott�s ear.
�Well, as long as you�re not fighting me, bub.�
Scott didn�t look like someone itching for a fight.
He pulled off his t-shirt and stretched out prone
across the bed. Logan got on top of him, straddling
Scott�s back, kneading his shoulders and upper back.
He touched the scar on Scott�s arm again. �I remember
when you got this one,� he said. �I was there.�
�It would have been a lot more than a mark on my arm
if you hadn�t been there. You saved us all that
Logan shrugged, still rubbing Scott�s shoulders. �You
saved my ass by the lake. It all evens out.� Scott
sighed happily, then moaned a bit as Logan leaned down
and licked the scar on his neck again. �What�s this
one from?� he asked, fingering it now.
�Magneto. First time we fought him. I�ve got a few
from that time. Jean got all the shrapnel out of me,
but she wasn�t able to do it without leaving scars.
She was in med school at the time. Missions were
practice for her. She got a lot of practice patching
me up. And Warren and Hank.�
Logan sat up again. Running his fingers through
Scott�s hair, he found another scar, right at the base
of the skull. A spot where no hair grew. �What about
this one?� he asked.
�A really mundane story. Should I say it�s from a
battle? Does that turn you on?�
�Yeah, it does a little. But tell me the real deal.
I�m turned on, anyway.� Leaning down again now,
lying on top of Scott, the erection pressed against
Scott�s back illustrating his point.
�It was an accident. An emerging telekinetic, an
advisement session in my office, me not remembering to
lock up sharp objects first. Well, I think it was an
accident. I had just told him he�d have to rewrite
the whole paper.� Logan chuckled at that, sitting up
again, continuing to move his fingers lazily and sort
of randomly over Scott�s head, arms, and back.
And then the movements were less ambling, more
purposive, Logan�s hands stroking with strong motions
up and down Scott�s back. Logan raised himself off of
Scott, up on his knees. Scott heard the SNIKT of a
claw extending. He started to object, saying he
didn�t have many clothes with him at the Outpost.
�Shut up,� Logan said and Scott felt the familiar
sensation of clothing being sliced off of him. Logan
bent down again, kissing, licking and sucking Scott on
the shoulder. Scott shut up.
Logan�s mouth, hot and wet, was working its way down
Scott�s back now, and his hands were cupping Scott�s
ass, squeezing the cheeks. He could hardly manage to
stay still as Logan�s tongue teased him right at the
beginning of the crack and his fingers slid nearer the
opening. He could feel those fingers, slick with lube
he hadn�t even noticed Logan putting on, opening him
And then Logan�s mouth was there, too, his tongue
licking up and down the crack as his fingers moved
inside. Scott couldn�t stay still at all, pushing his
ass up towards Logan. Reaching under himself, he
rubbed his cock with his hand, ass moving in the air.
�You look good like that,� Logan said, raising his
head up but still working Scott with his hand.
�Giving your ass to me to fuck, aren�t you?�
Scott nodded, saying �yes� breathlessly.
�You want a big cock in there?� Logan asked, unzipping
himself and then lying on top of his lover now, his
hard dick between the offered cheeks.
�Yes, yes,� Scott said again.
�Whose?� he asked, positioning his cock at Scott�s
opening but not pushing in, even as the man under him
tried to move closer.
�Yours, Logan, yours.� Logan pushed in and started
moving slowly in and out as Scott kept saying it. And
then there was no more talking and Logan was fucking
Scott in earnest now. His hips were moving and he had
one hand resting at the root of Scott�s hard cock,
sliding up and down with every stroke inside. The
other hand was on the scar on Scott�s neck, fingering
it as he pumped into him.
Scott was losing control now, losing awareness of his
surroundings. The part of his brain that was still
working was reminding him to keep his eyes closed, but
he could feel them rolling back into his head. He
thought he said something when he was coming, but he
didn�t know what.
He lay there afterwards, catching his breath and
feeling almost like he�d passed out and was slowly
returning to consciousness. Logan was still on top of
him, still lying on Scott�s back, but not moving now.
The man on top of him felt loose-limbed and sweaty,
the tension Scott had felt in Logan�s body no longer
there. Scott realized Logan must have come already,
while he�d been too into his own orgasm to even
�You�re a good ride, Cyclops,� Logan sighed happily.
And then he rolled off of Scott.
Scott put his glasses back on and looked at his lover,
who was asleep already. �I guess we share a bed after
all,� he thought, contentedly. He took off his
glasses and went to sleep.
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